Always an exciting show for us, this year’s National Hardware Show did not disappoint as ingenuity, inspiration and inventiveness could be found in aisle after aisle. Here are our top 4 takeaways:
- Companies are investing for growth: As companies were packing up on Thursday afternoon, there was a consistent buzz in the aisles that it was a great show. Very similar feedback to what we heard and saw at the International Builders Show in February. The attendance may be similar to 2013, but there were many more buyers and senior management attendees than in years past making deals and meeting with customers.
- Year of the Knock-off: It was surprising how fast products are being copied by off-shore suppliers. The response is to continually innovate and build your brand’s equity in the minds of the consumer.
- General Lack of Breakthrough Products: There were few real breakthrough products – the effects of the recession on investment spending are still being felt. Most of the “new launches” were iterations on previous designs, although there were some new products from upstarts looking for buyers or collaborators. If items 1 & 2 above prove out, expect a resurgence of activity around stocking the new product development pipeline to meet short, intermediate and longer term strategies.
- Merchandising: Even with the best of products, it needs to move off the shelf to make money. Many companies are trying to find new ways to improve their packaging or merchandising to support point of purchase, even for professional buyers.
We’re in the business of expecting and solving for the unexpected at the same time we cast outwards to search for the unexpected. In order to be effective for our clients, trend and industry awareness by necessity is a year-round proposition – we’ll be back with updates.